Cedar Grove Board of Education Continues to Outline School Budget
Local teen presents Eagle Scout project for Autism Awareness.
The Cedar Grove Board of Education continued its overview of the 2012-2013 school budget at Tuesday night's meeting by presenting operations and maintenance, capital outlay, revenue and benefits changes.
Operation and maintenance was defined as activities to keep each building throughout the district operational while keeping the grounds, buildings and equipment in effective working order.
The presentation, lead by Superintendent Dr. Gene Polles, indicated an anticipated decrease in utility costs because of new window, roof and door installation as well as a reduction in custodial staff overtime. A decrease of $196,364 brings the total to $3,003,916 for the 2012-2013 school year.
Capital Outlay of the budget includes equipment purchases costing more than $2,000, which has a multi-year life span. An increase in capital outlay, said Dr. Polles, is because of the replacement of lawn and maintenance equipment, the replacement of a 2001 Dakota pick-up truck and parking lot repair work. The total capital outlay for the 2012-2013 school year is $165,017.
The presentation outlined different forms of revenue for the district at the local, state and federal level. The total revenue for the upcoming school year was listed as $26,325,239. An increase of $742,827 from last year is because of a 2% tax cap levy and an increase in state aid, said Polles.
The total amount for employee benefits for the upcoming school year is $4,152,252, according to the board. The increase from last year's $3,997,384 is because of an increase in health benefits, compensated absences for potential retirements, employer contribution to Medicare and FICA and an increase in existing and new district staff insurance premiums.
The budget indicated a $578,833 increase from last year's staff salaries bringing the total to $9,842,159 for the 2012-2013 school year. The increase is because of projected salary increases and additional teaching staff. New staff members include two new math teachers and one Spanish teacher at Cedar Grove Memorial Middle School. A half-time Spanish teacher and two new teachers for math and English at Cedar Grove High School as well as a full-time foreign language teacher for both the North- and South End elementary schools will be hired. The upcoming school year will have a total of 150 certified teaching staff for the district.
“The community needs to understand that there was close to $600,000 in lost revenue this year from Washington Academy,” said Board President Frank Mandala. “That was a big hit for the board and the extra state aid we have received helped to offset that loss so that it did not have to hit the taxpayers. By planning and putting that money aside, that was a great help.”
The school budget will be presented in its entirety at a budget hearing on Monday, March 26 at 8 p.m. in the North End Elementary School Media Center.
Scout Prepares Autism Awareness for Eagle Scout Project
During the public portion of the meeting, 17-year-old Daniel Fanelli of Cedar Grove High School presented his Eagle Scout project to benefit autism awareness.
“I came about this project thinking of a meaningful idea that will impact the community,” said Fanelli, who is a member of Boy Scout Troop 65. “I have autism in my family and I wanted to do something with a positive impact to educate the community, because the more people who know about it, the faster we can find a cure.”
The project consists of creating posters for April's Autism Awareness Month, placing an autism awareness puzzle peice monument in front of the Cedar Grove Public Library and hosting an Autism Awareness Day at the library.
The event, which will be held April 22 from 1 to 4 p.m., will feature speakers, a performance from the Cedar Grove Select Choir and several different charitable organizations such as Autism Speaks, the largest national autism organization.
“This is an unbelievable and commendable project,” said Mandala. “It takes a special person to take on such a major project on top of their other studies. It takes a person with goals and vision who clearly wants to make a difference. He should really be proud of himself for all of the great things he is doing.”